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Chief Guest, Mr. Joe Mucheru, EGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology

H.E Kivutha Kibwana, Governor, Makueni County

County Commissioner, Makueni County

Speaker of County Assembly

Archbishop (Rtd) Eliud Wabukala, Chairperson Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Commissioners

County Executive Committee Members

National and County Government Officials

Kenya Leadership and Integrity Forum

Members of County Anti-Corruption Civilian Oversight Committees

Invited Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee is delighted to be part of the participants in the activities to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day which is marked worldwide every 9th December. 9th December, 2003 was the day that countries in the world came together and agreed in unison to fight corruption and all its manifestations through the adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. We all remember that Kenya was the first country in the world to sign and simultaneously ratify the Convention during the conference held that year in Merida, Mexico.

From that time 16 years ago, our country has made tremendous progress in the fight against corruption as characterized by the robust legal framework, strengthened anti-corruption agencies and a citizenry that is fully aware of the vice. The law enforcement agencies, working together under the framework of Multi-Agency Team (MAT), which is chaired by the Hon. Attorney General, have investigated and taken to court many corruption cases, some involving very high profile people commonly referred to as the ‘big’ fish and recovered assets stolen from the public, not to mention the numerous deals that have been disrupted thereby saving the public billions of shillings that would have been lost through corruption. These are no mean achievements and we must all congratulate the enforcement agencies for a job well done, congratulations.

The agencies, however, require support and participation by citizens in the fight so that they can be effective and achieve more. Suffice to state that the corrupt live with and among us, hence we are able to see the disproportionate and unexplained acquisition of wealth as well as the changing lifestyles, including building of palatial homes and purchase of big vehicles. This being the case, citizens are best placed and should accept to report and record statements with the investigative agencies, thus the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Directorate of Criminal Investigations all suspected cases of corruption; and cooperate with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to adduce evidence in courts of law against the culprits. Citizens should also accept to report cases of illicit assets to the Asset Recovery Agency.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Based on the high levels of awareness, citizens no longer refer to corruption using pseudonyms such as ‘chai’, ‘harambee’ and ‘kitu kidogo’, among others, as was the case before 2003. Today, citizens call the vice by its name, corruption. This empowerment has, however, not translated into action against corruption by citizens. According to a study report released last month by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, only 5.6% of the citizens who witnessed acts of corruption took action by reporting while 56.5% were either waiting for an opportunity to engage or had actually participated in corruption.

This does not auger well for the fight against corruption and calls for a change of the mind set by the citizens. It is important to first recognize that corruption is simply theft, and any person who gets involved in corruption is a thief; thieves don’t have any honour. Secondly, there is no community in Kenya that is a thief, only individuals in a community can be thieves. The individual thieves do not steal for the community but for themselves. Citizens should, therefore, stop rallying around corruption suspects and escorting them as they go and record statements or appear in the courts of law to answer to charges.  

The citizens should also actively participate in preventing corruption from taking place in the first place, prevention is better than cure. Many a times, citizens perceive like they may not, on their own, take any preventive action. In the course of implementing the campaign, the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee, which is mandated to undertake a nationwide public education, sensitization and awareness creation campaign against corruption for the ordinary citizens, has come across public/community projects being implemented without input or involvement of the would be beneficiaries, they are not provided with information on what the projects entail, the amount of funds allocated, sources and the durations of implementation. Majority of such projects do not even have project management committees.

Consequently, the beneficiaries cannot relate with the project and, instead, perceive them as ‘government’ projects. Arising from this disconnect, citizens do not oversight but actually derail the implementation by participating in theft of construction materials and other malpractices, resulting in massive wastage and losses. As part of their preventive role, citizens should henceforth develop interest and demand total involvement in identification, prioritization and implementation of public projects, demand for information on amounts of funds allocated, sources, duration of implementation and most importantly, every project must have a project management committee duly elected by beneficiaries. The Committee would like to recognize the County Government of Makueni for ensuring that projects have functional project management committees duly elected by the beneficiaries and the contractors cannot be paid for work done unless and until citizens actually approve. This is commendable and should be emulated by other counties.

Where the public has generated interest to fight and prevent corruption in public/ community projects and actively participates from the beginning to the end, significant funds have been saved from loss through corruption. Such success stories dot the counties, including in Makueni, which should be told repeatedly to motivate and give hope to the citizens that the fight against corruption can and shall be won. This way, citizens will stop tolerating corruption within their areas and demand transparency and accountability, which is an effective preventive action. The National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee will, through the County Anti-Corruption Civilian Oversight Committees that it has established to create awareness at the grassroots, work with the two levels of Governments, civil society organizations and all stakeholders to fully empower citizens implement measures to fight and prevent corruption.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The fight against corruption is for each and every Kenyan. To bring on board citizens, the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee partnered with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya and developed Scripture-Referenced Anti-Corruption materials that will be disseminated by the Religious Leaders as they preach against corruption to the congregants. The materials, which were launched jointly with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Inter-Religious Council of Kenya on 20th November, 2019, will help the congregants understand corruption and the very reason they should fight and prevent the vice. The messages in the materials resonates very well with this years’ theme ‘We are united against corruption for sustainable development”. Surely when we unite against corruption, we shall as a country subdue corruption and achieve the development goals and objectives, including the ‘Big Four’ Agenda.

As I conclude, the National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee wishes to appeal to all of you gathered here today, and indeed all Kenyans, to accept to play our individual and collective roles to rid our country of corruption. Let us not give or accept bribes and not just watch as corruption takes place and do nothing about it, let us take action. Let us also endeavor to live a values-based life. If we all purpose to do this, our country will surely be saved from the shackles of corruption and we shall bequeath our children a country free of corruption.

Let each one of us Say NO to Corruption.

I thank you all.